The Bill o’Jack’s Murders: The Hunt for Suspects

Following the discovery of the murders of William and Thomas Bradbury, a frenzied search for suspects resulted in many men being detained on the basis of Reuben Platt’s description of “three Irishmen”. Many were suspected simply because they were Irish. By the time the inquest was held, there was one main suspect. But the case against him was not strong…

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The Bill o’Jack’s Murders: The Night Before

While we can be fairly certain of most of the events which followed the discovery of William and Thomas Bradbury at on 3 April, there is much less clarity about what happened the night before. Almost everything we know comes from the evidence of one man, Reuben Platt. He spent maybe a couple of hours with Thomas Bradbury that evening before the two went their separate ways . His description of their encounter with three suspicious men formed the basis of a frenzied hunt for suspects in the following days, and much speculation since.

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The Bill o’Jack’s Murders: The Tales of Thomas Smith, Ammon Platt and Joseph Bradbury

Apart from the three journalists who covered the story for the newspapers, we have two other accounts of what happened in the hours after the discovery at Bill o’Jack’s. But the major source for many who wrote about the murders afterwards was a book called Saddleworth Sketches. And its author, the mysterious Joseph Bradbury, did not always tell the truth…

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The Bill o’Jack’s Murders: The Morning After

On 3 April 1832, a young girl called Amelia Winterbottom made a horrifying discovery at the house of her grandfather in Saddleworth. As the news spread, it marked the beginning of the strange tale of a brutal double murder which both appalled and fascinated the people of the area. The 85-year-old William Bradbury and his 47-year-old son Thomas had been attacked the previous evening. This is the story of their final hours.

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